by Laurie-Ann Copple
Tony and I have had a special time pouring our love, Bible study, mentoring and spiritual parenting into the girls. Just recently, we were gifted with a highlight of our entire time in South Africa; this was when Anthonica was finally baptized. This happened on our wedding anniversary. To add to the favour and celebration, we even had an indoor heated pool with steps that made the journey to the water easier.
Quite a few months back, Nieka asked us to have her baptized. We were led to use the Alpha Course as a preparation to baptism, and to strengthen her faith in Jesus. She is a sure Christian, and she is growing wiser beyond her teenage years (in spiritual things). Then we had several barriers to the baptism. An Avian Park pastor was willing when the weather was still warm, but the pump in his pool stopped working. Then it didn’t work out for timing in other venues. Finally, Tony asked YWAM base leader Arno Pienaar for advice on where to go that has a warm pool. The answer was a health spa, that permits baptisms after hours in the colder months. We were overjoyed. Tony read up on how to baptize, since this was new to him, although we have seen it done by others. We enjoyed a time of sharing Bible verses about baptism being more than a profession of faith done by obedience, but also a strong symbol that you are willing to die to sin and self-interest and be alive to Jesus Christ. We spoke with her about this. When she originally said she wanted to be baptized, she said that she wanted to be closer to God and not do bad things. She inherently felt the pull towards doing wrong that we all feel – but she also knew the cure – Jesus himself. Paul had said in Romans 7:23-25: “For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! “ And we shared with Anthonica another passage in Romans 6 where we become buried in baptism with Jesus Christ. This is an act where you identify with him, and he begins a process in you where you can become more selfless and alive to God. This is exactly what Anthonica wanted. It’s what God is still working in us – in all of us to remember our baptismal vows (thinking of the Anglican liturgy). A baptism into Christ is a calling as God’s child.
Anthonica had three attempts to ‘get dunked’ and finally was immersed, to the joy of Tony, her mother, me and Jan, the founder of My Father’s House. Jan had known Anthonica for years, and was full of joy in this special day. We also had an opportunity to pray over Anthonica, give her encouragement and love through prayer and specific scriptures. These were: a) Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge God and he will direct your paths” and b) Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Afterwards, we had tea and cake, and we witnessed a mother and daughter full of joy and love for each other. Then I shared that it was our 22nd wedding anniversary and they were surprised that I didn’t share this before. My reason was simple. I didn’t want our anniversary to overshadow Anthonica’s baptism. That afternoon was all Nieka’s, not ours. We were glad to share it. The evening would be ours, which was a quiet evening enjoying one of Tony’s favourite meals at home. But the highlight was truly Anthonica. It made us proud to have this as a highlight of our time in South Africa. Here is one of our spiritual daughters, and she truly will go far if she sticks to the path laid out for her. She’s not alone, Jesus is with her. Always.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
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